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Guide to Being 35 Weeks Pregnant

At 35 weeks pregnant, you're in the homestretch! See more pregnancy pictures.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Thirty-five weeks down, just a few to go! And yes, you can probably feel every one of those 35 weeks. Shortness of breath, pelvic and lower-back pain, swollen feet and your old friend heartburn -- you name it, you got it. The baby doesn't have all that much room to move around in there, which means an end to the constant turning and flipping but also an increase in discomfort when he does decide to wiggle or stretch.

The waiting game hasn't officially begun yet, but the anticipation is probably killing you. You're only two weeks away from being considered full term. In the event you go into labor this week, you'd almost certainly have a healthy baby with no complications.

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So, what's new this week? You're probably starting weekly doctor or midwife appointments, and you could be hit pretty hard with the nesting bug right about now, finding yourself reorganizing closets and scouring bathtub tile at all hours of the night. And random strangers might start asking you (or attempting to visually examine you) to see if you've dropped yet -- and then offering their expert opinions on the matter.

First up: more details on what you might be feeling.

Let's be honest: You probably aren't feeling too hot right now. You've gained a good amount of weight, and your uterus is under your ribcage, making breathing very difficult. You could find yourself groaning every time you sit down or stand up, and your maternity clothes -- especially the shirts, which once seemed so enormous -- might feel like they've shrunk a few sizes. But take comfort in the fact that you're almost there! In just a few weeks, you'll be holding your (screaming, squirmy) bundle of joy, and all this distress will seem like a figment of your imagination.

Starting this week or next, you'll be seeing your doctor or midwife once a week. Your care provider might start doing cervical checks now to see if you're dilated or effaced. But even if you are, don't get ahead of yourself -- as with so many other apparent labor signs, being a couple of centimeters dilated doesn't necessarily mean your baby is on her way. You could still very well make it to your due date (or past it!).

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Your baby is basically finished growing now -- he's just hanging out and packing on the ounces (about eight of them a week!), building up those cute fat layers. He weighs about 5.5 to 6 pounds and stretches out crown to toes at 17 to 18 inches. There's not too much room in there for moving around, so even the slightest movement or repositioning can be very uncomfortable for you. You might even see the outlines of tiny elbows and feet bulging out from your belly.

Even if your baby's actions aren't so dramatic anymore, you should still keep tabs on his general activity levels. Keep doing kick counts if you can, but just try to be aware of his movement trends and contact your doctor or midwife if there seems to be a significant decrease.

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Your baby's kidneys are functioning now, and his liver is processing waste. His skull is formed but hasn't fused yet so he can squeeze through the birth canal. His lungs are producing surfactant, which helps the lungs expand and keeps them from collapsing. He'd probably be perfectly healthy if he were born today but would spend a few extra days in the hospital before going home.

For most of the pregnancy, your partner has probably felt a little bit out of the loop, and that's just the nature of the beast. But all that changes on the big day: Your partner isn't going to be doing the real hard work, obviously, but this is when he or she can finally spring into action. The main job, of course, is to be your coach, but he or she can take charge of plenty of other things while you're busying yourself with birthing a baby. Now's the time for your better half to start thinking about:

  • Nailing down directions to the hospital and making sure of the correct entrance, parking rules, after-hours procedures and check-in process. You probably won't be in any state to deal with these details, so leave it up to your partner.
  • Making a master contact list and figuring out what messages you'll broadcast on labor day. Will you send constant updates from the first contraction or just wait for the big announcement? Who gets a call, and who gets relegated to the e-mail/text list?
  • Packing his or her own bag, with camera, cellphone, chargers, snacks, money, a change of clothes and whatever else might be needed.

If you find yourself obsessively checking and re-checking everything in the nursery to make sure it's ready for baby's arrival, just go with it. It's perfectly normal behavior for all parents-to-be!
If you find yourself obsessively checking and re-checking everything in the nursery to make sure it's ready for baby's arrival, just go with it. It's perfectly normal behavior for all parents-to-be!
©iStockphoto.com/Nathan Maxfield

As you round the final turn in the road to the delivery room, you might find that you have an odd compulsion to organize the linen closet. Or wash all your windows. Or fold and refold every item of baby clothing you own. You've been hit with the nesting bug. It hits mothers-to-be all over the animal kingdom, and humans are no exception. Even women who aren't normally hyper-organized seem to have a hidden instinct to make their home clean and cozy for their new arrival.

You might be a bit taken aback by this sudden need to mop and scrub. But take our advice and just go with it -- you're not going to have this much time to devote to your home for a long, long while. It might be years before you have another urge to clean the fridge with a toothbrush. If you're not sure what to attack first, here are a few areas to focus on:

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The kitchen: Throw away expired, moldy or otherwise unwanted food. Cook and freeze meals for the post-baby days (and there will be many) when you just can't deal with making dinner.

The nursery: Make sure you have enough diapers, wipes, onesies, footie pajamas and other essentials to get you through the first couple of weeks.

Your closet: Do you have nursing bras? Plenty of comfy sweats and pajamas? Heavy-duty maxi pads?

Of course, a thorough general cleaning is an excellent idea, but unless your nesting instinct is totally out of control, why not spring for a professional cleaning? You're almost nine months pregnant, for goodness' sake!

At this point in your pregnancy, you're probably used to getting unsolicited advice and questions from random strangers every time you set foot outside. And by now you're also probably pretty good at letting it all roll off your back -- most people only have the best intentions when they're asking about your pregnancy (although we hope you haven't been subjected to too much belly-touching).

For some reason, the commentary often seems to center around how you're carrying -- people seem to enjoy predicting the sex of your baby based on how high (or low) they deem your belly to be. And when you're obviously in the final stretch, everyone and their mother will be trying to figure out if you've dropped.

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So what, exactly, is dropping? Otherwise known as lightening, it's when the baby settles into the pelvis with its head in position for birth. This, of course, can be a sign of impending labor -- but it can also happen weeks before you give birth. So, if you've dropped at 35 weeks, don't panic if anyone predicts that you're about to go into labor. And conversely, don't worry if you haven't dropped yet. You might be pretty uncomfortable with the baby under your ribcage and putting pressure on your diaphragm, but when he drops, that pressure moves to your bladder. So it might be better if the little man waits till the last minute!

For more information about pregnancy, check out the links on the next page.

Related Articles

Sources

  • American Pregnancy Association. "35th week of Pregnancy." (June 14, 2011) http://www.americanpregnancy.org/weekbyweek/week35.htm
  • Baby Center. "Your Pregnancy: 35 Weeks." (June 14, 2011) http://www.babycenter.com/303_35-weeks_1615717.bc
  • Baby Zone. "35 Weeks Pregnant: Breastfeeding Basics." (June 14, 2011) http://www.babyzone.com/pregnancy/week/article/35th-week-pregnancy-pg1
  • iVillage. "35 Weeks Pregnant: Pregnancy Week-by-Week Guide." Sept. 11, 2007. (June 14, 2011) http://www.ivillage.com/30-weeks-pregnant-pregnancy-week-week-guide/6-a-144785
  • Kids Health. "Pregnancy Calendar: Week 35." (June 14, 2011) http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/pregnancy_calendar/week35.html
  • Parenting. "3rd Trimester: Week 35." (June 14, 2011) http://www.parenting.com/pregnancy/timeline/third-trimester-week-35
  • WebMD. "Pregnancy and Signs of Labor." (June 19, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/baby/labor-signs
  • WebMD. "Your Pregnancy Week by Week: Weeks 31-35." (June 14, 2011) http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/your-pregnancy-week-by-week-weeks-31-35
  • What to Expect. "That Nesting Instinct During Pregnancy." (June 19, 2011) http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/labor-and-delivery/preparing/nesting-phase.aspx
  • What to Expect. "Week 35 of Pregnancy." (June 14, 2011) http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/week-by-week/week-35.aspx

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